Student or Learner
In this text from the NYT, what does grind up mean?
“The city [New York] had been grinding us up, and decimating our bank accounts”.
The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
In this context it means something like 'draining their emotional, physical, and financial resources'. They were getting tired of being (possibly living) in NYC, because it was taking an emotional and financial toll on them.
Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!